Galatians 1:22-24 – And I [Paul] was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God because of me.
In the days of the early church, perhaps the most feared man was named Saul. He oversaw the murder of an early church leader named Stephen. He went from house to house tying up Christians and dragging them to be punished. Then, Jesus came down from heaven and put a veritable beat down on Saul – blinding him, humbling him, and stopping him.
Shortly thereafter, the Holy Spirit filled Saul and he became a new man, so new in fact that he got the new name of Paul. God does not make bad people good. God makes bad people new.
Before he met Jesus, Paul had a biography. A biography is about you and what you do. Here’s how Paul states his biography using the word “I” repeatedly in Galatians 1:13-15: “For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers.”
After he met Jesus, Paul had a testimony. A testimony is about God and what God does for you. Here’s how Paul states his testimony in Galatians 1:16: “But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me…”
What is so powerful about Paul’s testimony is that it shows the power of God’s grace to save anyone, forgive anyone, change anyone, bless anyone, call anyone! What we learn from Paul is that the worst parts of your biography become the best parts of your testimony. So, don’t be ashamed of your past and don’t be ashamed of the gospel to overcome your past!
What are the top three things that come to mind when you consider how God has changed you?